Carter’s Birth Story

17 Mar

IMG_1142Four weeks ago weeks ago we welcomed Carter Anthony into our family. (By the way, I’ve changed that first word three times now. I started this when he was two weeks old and he’s now 4 and a half! Life with two kids…) His birth was a beautiful end to a (mostly) dream pregnancy and I honestly feel so blessed to have had things happen the way they did. I know birth is unpredictable and rarely goes how you envision it, but in our case, it went better than I imagined. I spent most of my pregnancy focusing on a peaceful birth. Liam’s birth was fast and intense to the nth degree. I fought the pain with every muscle in my body and know that’s what ultimately made it very difficult and far more painful than it needed to be. I was intent on having a different outcome with this baby’s arrival.

“I am confident in my body’s ability to birth naturally and easily.”

At 8pm on Tuesday February 10th, my water broke. After a few days of no contractions, a false alarm on Thursday night and using every trick up my midwife’s sleeve, I finally went into the hospital for a neonatal non-stress test to make sure everything was still ok. It was a horrible experience, to be honest. I felt so violated and as if my rights were being stripped away with every moment I spent in the building. I know that sounds superbly dramatic, but that’s how it felt after 9 months of very low intervention care (no ultrasounds, no Doppler, no labs, no vaginal exams). All of that was taken away from me in the two hours I was there. I was pressured to birth there. The OB said he would be happy to break my water to send me into labor right then. It was all a very yucky experience but I’m glad I went. It put my mind at ease that baby was still healthy and confirmed very clearly my decision to birth at home, but it was definitely the most difficult part of my pregnancy.

My “due date” was 2/15, coincidentally, Liam’s 3rd birthday. From the start of the pregnancy, Ryan and I joked about the fact that it would be neat to have two kids with the same birthday. As it turns out, that was Carter’s plan! Valentine’s Day night, Ryan cooked chicken parm, in hopes it would catapult me into labor, as it did with Liam three years before. And it wouldn’t you know, it worked! I decided to go to sleep around 11:30 after having a few non-interesting contractions. I figured I’d probably wake up if I went into actual labor. Sure enough, I woke at 12:35 with a contraction that I knew was the real thing. I called Medra who was expecting my call and headed out immediately. The birthing tub had already been set up from Thursday’s false alarm so Ryan just had to fill it with warm water. He got to work while I bounced on the yoga ball and timed my contractions. From the first painful contraction to delivery, they were steady at 3-5 minutes apart the entire time. Completely manageable and predictable.

Medra and her assistant, Tara, arrived shortly after 1am, birthing bags in hand. I was in the tub when they arrived but ended up getting out once I realized it was slowing things down. Ryan was busy making coffee, the dogs were set up in the garage with their beds and a fan for white noise and Liam was fast asleep in his room. We spent the next hour talking and laughing while I bounced and Medra timed. Liam woke once around 2:15am but I went up, rubbed his back and was back down in less than 5 minutes. A minor miracle given the previous few weeks of frequent night wakings.

I got back into the tub at 3:30 and spent the next hour getting in and out of the tub to use the bathroom, which was very similar to my labor with Liam. As I sat in the tub, I had the realization that transition was probably right around the corner. Could I handle the pain? What if I hyperventilated as I did in my last birth? I let out the feelings and told Ryan was scared of the unknown. The feeling of helplessness passed quickly and I continued my practice of breathing very slowly and deeply with each contraction. I visualized them as waves moving their way from the top of my belly. I pushed them down mentally, through my body and out my feet. I didn’t groan or yell, I just focused the pain through my breath. Apparently that was transition because when Medra did her one internal check (of my entire pregnancy!) at 4:15am, I was dilated to a 9 with a cervical lip.


FullSizeRenderI hopped back in the tub and kept breathing through the contractions. I definitely cried again and said I wanted my mom, which Ryan says I did with Liam as well. It wasn’t a big cry, just enough to release some emotions. I used lavender essential oil on a cool washcloth to keep me relaxed and enjoyed the warmth of the tub. I checked myself around 4:30am and felt the lip wasn’t ready to move yet but after another two contractions, it popped up. He moved into position and all of a sudden when I checked, his head was RIGHT THERE. I could still feel the bag of waters intact as he moved down. The water was a little cold at that point so Ryan went to add some hot water. As soon as that warm water was added, I relaxed and my body took over. I never pushed. Carter and my uterus did all the work! It was truly remarkable for both me and my seasoned midwife! My water broke as he crowned, I reached down and felt a full head of hair. I said to Medra, “I think there’s something wrong.” because I hadn’t pushed at all and the sensation was very foreign to me. She said, “Nothing’s wrong. That’s your baby’s head!” I delivered his head and then Medra caught his body. Official arrival time- 5:05am. Carter weighed 8.2lbs and was 22″ long.

IMG_0915His cord had a complete knot which was pretty neat to see. Placenta came about 15 minutes later without complication. Apgar was an 8 and then a 10 and he was covered in cheesy vernix. We didn’t even know if he was boy or girl for a few minutes, we were focused on getting him to breathe. Once we checked, I was FLOORED to discover he was a boy! I’d been envisioning and planning for a girl the entire pregnancy. My instincts are so off when it comes to my children’s gender.

IMG_0924I was helped out of the tub to the couch and we were nursing a few minutes later. It wasn’t until 7am that Liam finally woke up and made his way downstairs. He’d slept through the entire thing! What a miracle. We had balloons and a sign hung up for his 3rd birthday but the best present of all- a baby brother!

IMG_0943My recovery has been pretty idyllic as well. I had a few setbacks when I pushed myself but as soon as I stopped, I was able to make up the lost ground. I didn’t tear so my healing has been all internal- and fast! We are having some nursing issues since he has a lip tie but since we’ve had the lip and tongue ties clipped, he’s putting on weight and sleeping better.

It’s truly amazing how restorative and healing this birth was for both Ryan and me. I feel like I conquered my fear of childbirth pain head-on and my body responded in a way I never thought possible. To have a minimally painful childbirth is something I never dreamed of, but was fortunate enough to get to experience. It was peaceful, calm, and perfectly wonderful, in only the way natural childbirth can be. Obviously it was still painful but nothing I couldn’t handle. Ryan was able to witness his wife being brave and strong and birth his second son without any drugs or medical intervention. Any fears he may have had about homebirth he kept to himself and he was fully supportive of my decision to birth the way I did. Not everyone would be comfortable with not seeing their baby on a sonogram or having prenatal tests done. I will forever grateful to him for standing beside me as my strong partner throughout this pregnancy.

IMG_0919I’m also so, SO incredibly thankful for my midwife and her assistant. I am completely confident that I would not have achieved the same birth with any other birthing team. The prenatal experience was low key and comfortable and set the tone for what was to be an “over the top perfect birth” in Medra’s words. By the way, this woman has been catching babies since around the time I was born so that means a lot when she says that! All of our appointments were done at our house. It was lovely to not have to drag Liam to doctor’s appointments every few weeks. We were able to settle into the birth very comfortably and quickly because Medra had been to our home so many times, it wasn’t strange to have her there, if that makes sense.

I’m actually really surprised I birthed in the tub. I wasn’t drawn to a water birth anymore than a land birth. I said multiple occasions I’d rather birth in the bathtub so we could just wash everything down the drain! But I was open to the birth leading the way and once I realized how wonderfully amazing warm water feels when you’re essentially running a marathon, I fully embraced it. Good thing Medra had a tub or I probably wouldn’t have bothered!

So that’s it. Carter’s story. He is already such an integral part of our family and Liam is equally in love with him as Ryan and I. We are truly blessed!


Dirty Hippie

20 Dec

Many of you know I’m very “green”. Compared to some, I’m VERY green. I have trashed practically every conventional personal care and cleaning product in the house. Ryan is even willing to make an effort to try the non-toxic alternatives I’ve found for him. I’ve had a number of people ask me for my personal care routine, and since starting the co-op, it has changed drastically. Basically, all of my wildest crunchy dreams have come true and I am finally able to feel 100% comfortable with the products I’m using on myself and Liam. I never would have been able to afford to re-do our house without the help of the buying club.  With the group’s community, I have also been able to help support some amazing moms who make seriously wonderful products that are completely safe to use. This post will be about my beauty routine and the next will be about my supplements/vitamins/herbs I take and use.

Full Disclosure: I don’t shower everyday, but for the sake of this post, we’ll assume I do.


Some mornings we take a bath and if we do, I use epsom salts with essential oil sprinkled in. Make sure you put the EO’s directly onto the salt and not straight into the water. Otherwise, they just sit right on top and come into direct contact with your skin, which you don’t want unless you have a carrier or emulsifier. My morning choice is Citrus Passion, Lime, or Balance. I also sprinkle in bentonite clay to help draw out toxins.

Disclaimer: I exclusively use Native American Nutritionals essential oils. Not only are they therapeutic quality, but their prices are noticeably lower than some of the bigger oil companies. Their selection of blends is second to none! Every oil is either organic or wild-crafted, meaning it is found in the wild. None of their oils are treated with pesticides of any kind. I fully respect Native American Nutritionals’ (merging with Rocky Mountain Oils) humble beginnings and their dedication to education beyond thinly veiled marketing strategies. You are free to use whichever oils you feel best for your family, but please do your research and decide which company you want to trust with the health of your family, if you’re using them for medicinal purposes, as we do. I didn’t feel comfortable with doTERRA’s multi-level marketing set up or the required minimum monthly orders. I also don’t think their oils are as high of quality. I think they alter the composition to make them smell as “authentic” as possible, but they end up going too far. In a smell comparison, I always prefer the NAN variety. It smells more natural to me.

I don’t wash my face in the am but I do rinse it off with warm water and moisturize with The Pharmacist’s Wife Beauty*Balm (AM).

Stink*Balm Deodorant, Whipped Cocoa Lotion by RAW, and lip balm by RAW.


Night Shower/Bath: Dr. Bronner’s Naked Unscented body wash and shaving gel (this stuff smells AMAZING! Like cake!) I currently use coconut milk and castille soap as shampoo (I’ve mentioned this on my blog before. The recipe found here.) but am in the market for one that won’t spoil. My new obsession is Cleansing Grains from Mountain Rose Herbs. I had a hard time letting go of my apricot face scrub but tossed it last week and hoped I’d find a replacement. I did. And it’s better. Super gentle and easy to use!

I wash my face in the evenings, alternating between the Oil Cleansing Method (organic sweet almond oil, organic tamanu oil, organic grapeseed oil, carrot seed oil and Skin Care essential oil), Honey Cleansing Method, and cleansing grains. If I’ve used OCM, I don’t need additional moisturizer on my face, but if I’ve done the honey or cleansing grains, I’ll follow up with a Frankincense EO with jojoba oil to ensure my face is super supple.

I also have the pleasure of alternating between three AMAZING lotions at night for Liam and myself. Hippie Karma Mama makes a wonderful Body Butter with Rosemary, shea and coconut oil. This stuff is good enough to eat! It’s fresh and clean smelling and super soft. Whipped Cocoa Butter by RAW is also good enough to eat, and Liam insists on having a few handfuls while I try to apply it as quickly as possible! I have also started using lotion bars made by Home Grown in the City which are SO soft and easy to apply. Again, smells good enough to eat!

I love using products that double are food safe. Can you say the same thing about your lotion? Why would you apply something to your skin you wouldn’t want to put in your mouth? Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs everything you apply onto it like a sponge, sending it directly into your bloodstream. Think about that before you start applying lotion filled with parabens and synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

On evenings Liam is feeling congested or sick, I rub his chest with Calm Balm from Green Pastures. If he’s not, I just use Beauty Balm so he gets the benefits of cod liver oil without having to take it orally. I also use it on my face some nights instead of the Beauty Balm. It does smell like fish though!

I guess that’s it for “beauty”, currently. I have some Honeybee Gardens make up on the way and I’m excited to try the mascara and eye shadow. I’ll be experimenting with making my own blush so I’ll post another explanation of my beauty products once I get those tested out and decide what I want to use.

Please feel free to ask any questions! I’m always tweaking and trying out new mixtures as the weather and my skin’s needs change. I know it seems overwhelming to completely overhaul your way of doing things, but once you start reading about how poisonous most of the conventional products are, you’ll be jumping on my Dirty Hippie train faster than you can say “organic, non-toxic, eco-friendly”!

Honey Bee Market

9 Oct

A few months ago, I started a buying club (Honey Bee Co-op) on Facebook for organic, non-toxic, responsibly produced, eco-friendly, handmade items. Very quickly it grew to over 400 members. Clearly I was onto something. The group has started to level off in numbers, but the growth of the group’s purchasing power and the desire to break away from traditional buying habits hasn’t stopped or slowed down. It’s actually taken on a lot of steam and has spread into almost every area of purchasing I do for my family.

It started off with me wanting to share the cost of shipping for a few companies and getting the group discount for our cod liver oil. Now, I’m buying almost all our food, pantry items, herbs, and household goods through the buying club. When I started the group, I called it a co-op without truly understanding what that word meant. In essence, it is a buying club. In the future, I dream of it becoming a true co-op.

I started Honey Bee Market website as a way for the buying club members to purchase some of the awesome products I found (and save on shipping) from the vendors weren’t willing to work with co-op groups. As I learn more about the retail world, I understand some of their hesitation. Facebook co-ops for the most part, get the prices for close to wholesale and can unknowingly devalue the product in the market. They also make it difficult for actual retailers to make a living since the groups are getting items for wholesale and it drives prices below what the retailer can compete with. Most of the co-op groups I’ve come across buy overseas anyway, but stone-walling from reputable companies may be the reason, other than China’s much lower prices. I have a very strict policy that I will not buy from any overseas company or offer anything to the group I wouldn’t buy for my family.

With all this in mind, I’ve come up with a solution. I have the retail website where I’ll sell items I feel good about- safe, non-toxic, eco-friendly, organic (if possible), local (whenever possible), and handmade. I’m partnering with a few Working At Home Moms (WAHM) to use my shop as a platform to sell their goodies (like The Pharmacist’s Wife and Chewee Beads). I’ll continue to offer low prices, but because of the agreements I’ve made with the vendors, I have to list things on the website for full retail. If you are a member of the buying club, or a reader of my blog, you may come across some discount codes to make the stuff I carry affordable. I offer local pick up for San Diego residents which can save you even more money on shipping.

1278382_10201926432420314_1652723163_nI’ll continue to manage the buying club for vendors who want to work with co-ops (Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier Wholesale, Green Pastures, Tropical Traditions, Wilderness Family Naturals, and more!) and have a more food/household items theme- cleaning products, pantry items, bulk herbs & spices as well as branching into local produce, dairy and meat.

I’m planning on having a huge open house party mid-November to show off some of the awesome products on the website as well as have a chance to answer questions, introduce some new goodies, eat delicious food, and commune with one another. Because truly, that is what Honey Bee Co-op has turned into- a community.

I am loving the direction we’re taking and if you’re local, come join us! Even if you’re not local, you will still probably save more than what you’re paying now even with added shipping. I’d also ask that if you’re looking to buy something online, come visit Honey Bee Market first and make sure I don’t carry it.

I’m happy to try and match prices and shipping is very reasonable. I’ll refund the difference if actual shipping is more than $2 higher than the estimate. I’m also open to suggestions if you don’t see what you’re looking for and it lines up with my shop’s values. I’ll be reviewing products and asking for member/customer testimonials on the shop’s blog and try to keep this one (Together We Are Home) a personal site, but don’t be surprised if it sits unattended to for months! Amanda over at The Darling Monsters has agreed to be my guinea pig for some stuff so stay tuned!

Thanks for your support! You are truly making my dreams come true in so many ways.

Earthpaste Winner! (and the one about how WordPress ate my blog)

29 Sep

Hey ya’ll! Sorry for the week… call it 8 day overdue Earthpaste winner post! I don’t know how to say this, but WordPress ate my blog post and then my blog. But I got it back and we are good to go. I really need to move this party over to a self-hosted blog but with the buying club and online business I am starting, it’s just not that important. Until I lose everything I’ve written over the past three years. Then it becomes important. Anyone wanna help a sista out? Can’t pay you, sorry.

Winner is… ELIZABETH M! Please contact me for your sample pack of Earthpaste. If you’re part of the group buying club, I’ll just add it to one of your orders. Please send me an email at

Thanks for participating and sorry about the delay. But really, thank WordPress. ;)

Earthpaste…? and Another Giveaway!

17 Sep

“They really need better marketing. I’m confused. What is it, toothpaste made of earth”? – my sweet husband.

Well, yes. That’s exactly what Earthpaste is. It is paste made from clay for your teeth. And from the reviews, it is OUTSTANDING. The co-op members love it too, we ordered six cases of it within just a week! I’m a crunchy kind of girl and was using baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils for awhile but it left something to be desired. I was ready for a change and had to try some myself to see what the fuss was all about.


Purified Water to hydrate the clay into a creamy paste.

 Food Grade Redmond Clay®, a polishing cleanser with antibacterial properties that has been used for centuries to promote digestive health.

Xylitol, a natural sweetener that has been shown to promote healthy teeth.

 Redmond Real Salt® to enhance the flavor and lend antibacterial properties associated with sea salt.

Tea Tree Oil, a natural, essential oil, commonly used to promote healthy skin, supports oral health with excellent anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.

Menthol, found in peppermint and wintergreen Earthpaste, leaves your breath fresh and mouth feeling clean.

Essential Oils

These special oils are used for flavoring & a wide variety of other health benefits listed below.

Peppermint will make your breath smell fresh, and it’s widely used to promote stress relief and support digestion.

Wintergreen lends a sweet, minty flavor and has been used to promote dental health.

Cinnamon brings a familiar, spicy flavor along with its reputation as an antioxidant used to promote healthy immune function.

I’m lazy so I copied and pasted stuff from their website. Doubt they’ll mind…

Earthpaste began because we couldn’t find a natural toothpaste we loved for our families. We wanted a toothpaste that was as natural as possible, so we started with hydrated Redmond Clay and added Xylitol, essential oils, and Real Salt. And that’s it. Earthpaste is amazingly natural toothpaste.

Earthpaste is Different

Earthpaste delivers all the benefits you expect from a toothpaste without any chemicals or unnatural additives. It’s toothpaste unlike any other you’ve experienced – you’ll see the difference on your brush and feel the difference in your mouth.

What’s Missing?

Earthpaste’s list of ingredients is unique, but the things we left out are just as important. Most brands of toothpaste contain foaming agents like SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), and chemicals like titanium dioxide to make the paste bright white. Not Earthpaste. It isn’t just safe to swallow – each ingredient in Earthpaste has been used to support healthy systems.

Even more questions answered here!

Ok, now for the completely unbiased review. Because obviously a company isn’t going to put, “Hey, your toothpaste was disgusting and made my mouth feel like sand.”

I got a few samples to try and here is what I think, uncensored.

Lemon: great for kids! Liam actually is pretty good about brushing his teeth but this is our first attempt with toothpaste. I tried a Flouride Free Burt’s Bees awhile ago and he was really grossed out. I think the lemon flavor is more familiar and palatable to kids so it was an instant winner. He actually allowed me to brush his back molars in addition to the usual front scrubbing.

Cinnamon: a little spicier than I expected but I got used to it after a few brushings.

Peppermint: Not particularly a fan of peppermint regardless, so, to be fair, I didn’t expect to like it. Which I didn’t. But you might!

Wintergreen: yep, will definitely be using this one again.


Redmond graciously sent me some samples of their toothpaste to try as well as some for a giveaway! Enter below for your chance to win a sample pack of each flavor!

Comment with the flavor you most want to try OR if you are already a believe, your favorite flavor!

One winner will be picked at 9pm on Friday, September 20th.

The Pharmacist’s Wife Giveaway Winner!

3 Sep

Ending this an hour early as Liam needs my attention this evening… Congratulations to #10 commenter, Tiffany Kyle! You’ve won a sample gift pack of super amazing stuff from the Pharmacist’s Wife. Enjoy!!

The Pharmacist’s Wife Review & Giveaway!

29 Aug

The Pharmacist’s Wife is a one-woman operation in Charlotte, NC. She has a line of handmade skin care products that I was fortunate enough to come across through a mutual friend on Instagram. After contacting Stephany, we set up a group buy with my co-op (more on that later) and she sent me some samples to try out. I promised a review to the co-op members since they would be trying the products for the first time as well. Stephany agreed to do a giveaway so one lucky reader will get the same sample pack she sent me! Small, adorable tins of Stink*Balm, The*Balm, Whipped*Balm, and a spray bottle of Bug*Balm. Details below…

All of The Pharmacist’s Wife ingredients are printed on the labels and contain stuff I feel good about putting on myself and Liam.

imageStink*Balm is a nonGMO and aluminum-free deodorant. Made with the finest quality organic coconut oil and lemon & tea tree essential oils.

organic coconut oil, organic/nonGMO corn
starch, raw beeswax, baking soda, vitamin
e oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, borage oil,
green tea leaf oil, black currant seed oil, tea
tree oil & lemon essential oils

Ever since having Liam, I’ve been kinda stinky. Just ask Ryan. I’m not sure why but it’s just a fact of life. Not wanting to increase my chances of breast cancer, I steer clear of all conventional deoderants. I’ve tried them ALL- crystal (didn’t work), Tom’s (made me break out in hives), Trader Joe’s (still stinky), some other Orange & Patchouli kind (nope), and finally Primal Pit Paste which is the only one that sort of worked. Until Stink*Balm! I am not even kidding, this stuff is awesome. I keep the tin out so I apply it a few times a day but it works. Truly. It smells lemony fresh and clean. I love it and highly recommend you get some too.

942955_387400874699403_935908204_nBug*Balm has been formulated to ward off the peskiest of bugs. It contains the same plant based oils used by organic farmers to repel pests. Bug*Balm is made with your family in mind. The smell won’t repel your friends, and it is full of nurturing oils to condition your skin. Shake well before applying and use caution around the eyes. We like to spray it on our hands to apply it to our face and neck. Reapply if you get wet or after a few hours of play.

witch hazel distillate, grapeseed oil,
simmondsia chinensis seed oil, distilled
water, eucalyptus citriodora oil, lavandula
officinalis oil, juniperus virginiana oil,
cymbopogon citratus oil & cymbopogon
winterianus oil

Fortunately we don’t deal with the same level of bugs here as we are used to being from Virginia. However, the spray does its job with our backyard gnats and flies and I haven’t been bothered once after applying it and doing yard work.

1009781_391661947606629_478817449_nWhipped*Balm is a fluffy, rich, and long-lasting moisturizing cream formulated with the highest quality organic coconut oil, local beeswax, and just the right blend of carrier oils to optimize absorption while leaving your skin soft and not too greasy. It is available in Lavender/Vanilla, Citrus, Patchouli, & Unscented. Custom order scents are available!

organic olive oil, grapeseed oil, organic
coconut oil, raw beeswax, vitamin e oil,
sunflower oil, safflower oil, borage oil, green
tea leaf oil, black currant seed oil &
essential oils

I realized that after Liam was born, my skin care routine was being sorely neglected. While he got a baby massage with coconut oil and shea butter every night, my sad legs were ashy and elbows rough enough to sand down a piece of furniture. Thankfully, with this new Whipped*Balm all that will change. I’ve been really religious about putting it on every evening after our shower and it’s made a big difference in the moisture level of my skin. It feels a bit greasy going on but it absorbs pretty quickly and soon I’m left with the faint citrus scent and silky smooth legs and arms. I can’t wait to try the Lavender/Vanilla!

1004446_387608081345349_52921641_nThe*Balm is a multi-purpose healing balm that can be used by the whole family – cradle cap to scraped toes, chapped lips to diaper rash, strange bumps to calloused feet! The*Balm is formulated with the highest quality organic coconut oil, local beeswax, and a unique blend of healing oils to cover all your basic skin ailments.

organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, raw
beeswax, organic evening primrose oil,
organic calendula oil, grapeseed oil, tea
tree oil, vitamin e oil, lavender & lemon
essential oils, sunflower oil, safflower oil,
borage oil, green tea leaf oil & black currant
seed oil

I’ve used this a few times already on some strange bumps on Liam’s back and a cut Jeffrey inflicted on his belly last week. It’s easy to go on, smells yummy and seems to work. Liam’s cut scabbed up quickly and the bumps are practically gone. I’ll be carrying this with me in my purse and have a few others stashed around the house!

She’s also working a few new items- a Night*Balm and Day*Balm she will debut in a few months. Looking forward to all she rolls out! Stephany’s products are top notch in my book.


To enter the giveaway of a sample size Stink*Balm, Whipped*Balm, The*Balm and Bug*Balm, comment below with what product you are most excited to try!

Extra entries for “liking” The Pharmacist’s Wife page, joining the Honey Bee Co-op and buying something through the co-op group order (Items discounted 10-15%).

Comment separately with each entry so I can make sure you are entered each time.

One winner will be chosen 9pm Tuesday, September 3rd.

Good luck!

What $840 Looks Like

22 Jun

That’s it. Cost us $142, would’ve been $814 with the blood work and ear swab we had them do. Thank goodness for Banfield!
I’ll spare you the picture of his foot but it’s not pretty. We have to soak it a few times a day and follow up on Wednesday. Vet says to keep him out of the backyard until his foot is healed and even then to meticulously check his feet and in between paws and belly and ears every time we come inside. Oye. Another visit like this and we would’ve paid to sod the yard ourselves (sod only, no labor). I can’t quite swallow that pill.

I spent a few hours today weeding the yard by hand in a futile attempt to keep the Fox Tails at bay. We have so, SO MANY. The entire yard is covered in either the actual stalks or a fine downy layer of the seeds. We need professional help. I wish I’d known what these were before they’d gotten so out of hand. Hopefully our experience will help someone avoid our situation!

The $1,000 Weed

22 Jun

These little buggers are called Fox Tails and they cover our back yard. And currently, one is lodged in Jeffrey’s foot. This is Jeffrey
Oh wait, that’s Liam wearing Jeffrey’s cone. (This was certainly not our idea!)
Nope. That’s Charlie Skyping with Ryan while he was in VA attending a school.
Ok one of those black blobs is Jeffrey. So anyway. He’s been super itchy as of late. The poor dog has allergies so we’d
“coned” him for awhile. I noticed a cut in between the pads of his paws Thursday night and by this morning, the entire paw was swollen to twice its size. It was oozing out of a hole on the top and he was clearly in significant pain. I took him right into Banfield.
Side note: I literally just signed him up for the Wellness Plan they have because financially it seemed the smarter option. For $32/month we get all vaccinations, yearly teeth cleaning, free office visits, heartworm testing and so much more. We shelled out over $1,200 last year in vaccinations and dental alone. Since we set aside $80 a month for the dogs anyway, I figured this was a good use for that money. We’ll still set aside the other $16 for food and meds because the plan doesn’t cover everything, but it does cover a lot! I always get mini panic attacks anytime we have to take the pups to the vet because it’s such an unknown entity. It could be $40 or $400! Who the heck knows?! With the wellness plan, you also get 15% off everything else- meds, procedures, etc. It has already paid for itself with this latest incident.
So back to Jeffrey’s paw… We got right in and the vet knew immediately what it was. A Foxtail weed had imbedded itself into Jeffrey’s paw, entered his skin and was now inside his foot, working its way up his leg. She said she’s pulled them out of ears, mouths, paws, stomachs, vaginas (omg ouch) and tongues. These things are NASTY LITTLE F&”$%*S. The vet also recommended we get rid of all of them immediately.

Normally a surgery to remove a foreign body would have run us $520 BUT since we signed up for the plan, it’s only $140. Reason being, since we get a free teeth cleaning, anesthesia is already included in that. They will do both while he’s under and we only have to pay for the foreign object removal, 15 extra minutes of anesthesia and pain medication. I am so beyond thankful I went with my gut and signed up for this plan last week. Charlie is next. I’m sure he’ll get injured or something soon. When it rains, it pours with these dogs.

“Ok Missy the Over Exaggerator,” you’re probably thinking, “where’s the other $500 coming from?” Well, the yard must be fixed. As in, completely resodded. Ryan and I had the foolish notion a few months ago we could do it ourselves, but realized quickly we could not and decided to live with it. However, I longed for green grass where Liam could play without getting poked by the weeds (now I know they are the Most Evil Weed On the Planet, surely owned by Monsanto). Now it seems as if I might get my wish. I’m just sorry our poor puppy has to endure surgery and a few uncomfortable days of recovery.

I put a call into our kind landlord, telling him the situation and asking him to get a quote to have the yard completely resodded professionally. I am hopeful he will take care of it and pay for it all himself. After all, the house would be much more appealing with actual grass.

Of course all of this excitement happened on a duty day so I got to juggle Liam and Jeffrey at the vet. Not recommended for the faint of heart. Now we will nap and wait for a call that he’s ready for pick up.

Mini Road Trip!

15 Jun

While Ryan was away, Liam, the dogs and I went on a little road trip to visit some friends in Leemore, California. It’s about 300+ miles north east through some mountains and into the Central Valley. The drive was pretty uneventful, but it did take 8 hours both ways despite the fact we didn’t hit any traffic or snags. We just had to stop a lot. With a nursing toddler, a solo driver and two dogs, it was definitely a lot for me to handle. But I’m really glad we went. We had a wonderful time visiting in real life with friends I’ve known for over three years. Emily took some pictures that I just love and wanted to share with you here. Liam is so photogenic!

As you can see, we had a fabulous time. Liam got along famously with all the kids. It was awesome to see the boys playing together since Emily, Joni and I were all pregnant at the same time. We can’t wait to go back and visit. Or, better yet, have everyone come here!


Thank you again ladies for spending a few days with us. It really was so wonderful to spend time with you!photo 2 (3) photo 1 (2) photo 1 photo 1 photo 2 (2) photo 2 photo 3 (2) photo 3 photo 4 (2) photo 4 photo 5 (2) photo 5

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